Warning to dog owners about toxic mushrooms

by Linda Hubbard Gulker on February 28, 2012

Rick of Menlo Dog Owners alerted us about a spate of local dog deaths due to ingestion of toxic mushrooms that members of the group were discussing via email.

Wrote Donnasue Jacobi: “Just a word of caution: The mushrooms have an expansive root system and even if you don’t see heads on top of the ground, if you’ve got a dog that’s really digging, check it out and stop them. They could be digging up poisonous mushrooms … We haven’t had much rain, but if you’ve got lots of oak trees, the compost that’s made from falling leaves is a perfect place for these things to get growing.[Dog owners should] keep their yards cleaned up to prevent mushrooms from getting a foot hold.”

Added Diana Gerba: “I lost my Bernese Mt. Dog pup, Donato, to a Death Cap Mushroom in 2010 when he was but six months old. Since then I have made it my mission and his legacy to try to raise awareness about mushroom toxicity.

 Many have probably seen his poster at local pet shops and on the internet.

“I have recently started producing Mushroom Alert Cards and have been giving them out to pet shops, trainers and vets. Friends of Donato continue to pay it forward and donate so we can keep printing the cards and spreading the word.

 I’ve also created a blog where you can download the card or the poster and see more information about DeathCaps.

 You’ll find links and more information, but the long of it is pick all mushrooms in your backyard, bag them and throw them out.”

An extensive list of poisonous plants and fungi is available online.

Photo of dogs romping at Nealon Park taken by Chris Gulker in 2010.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

chris February 28, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Some good points made. I am so sorry for Diana’s loss of her dog. If you suspect your dog’s ingested a poisonous fungus, try to pick a sample to bring to vet. You can’t eradicate fungi from your yard, and probably don’t want to as the underground mycelium is beneficial to trees and plants. The above-ground fruiting body, of course, you can see. As written, educating yourself is excellent. Much info is at mykoweb.com. Locally there is the Peninsula Mycological Web group (on Facebook). The SF Mycological Society has an excellent poster showing Death Cap at all stages, which is displayed at several local parks.


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